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I’ve Moved…

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Every time we move, no matter how good the moving company, we’ve come to expect a little bit of damage here or there to some of our belongings.  It’s just impossible to pack and load, and load and unpack all of our furniture and junk (we like to call treasures) and expect it all to come out perfectly.

This year, our, well…ahem.  Okay, MY 2-year-old artificial pre-lit 7-foot beeeeautiful Christmas tree got damaged.  I guess the packers figured it would be a good idea to shove 1/2 the tree in a large box and the other half in another large box.  Only it turns out the boxes were too narrow, the tree was too cramped, and some of the hinges at the base of the limbs ended up bent the wrong way.

It looked pretty shabby, but I figured I might be able to make it work anyway.  After all, the kids had already decorated their tree.  I really needed to get this tree decorated so I could move on with the rest of the house that still needed organizing and unpacking, and placing and such.  But MY Christmas tree just had to get done.  That’s how I work out my OCD and need for beauty and perfection over Christmas time.   I figured I only caused frustration with the kids every time they placed their decorations on the tree and I picked it up and moved it to a “better place.”  They finally got old enough to figure out they weren’t really decorating the Christmas tree!  So we solved the problem with a “theirs” tree and a “mine” trees.

Anyway, I tried to assemble my broken down Christmas tree anyway, because by golly, I was not going to let this move stop me from decorating for Christmas!  But to my dismay, when I tried to insert the very top of the tree into the middle section, it began to wobble and lean.  No matter how many times I tried to fix it, it would not sit up straight, until finally, I saw the crack in the metal and it completely flopped over.

Scott originally thought it would be an easy temporary fix (at least for this year).  We attempted to tape it together and get it to hold, but alas, it was a loss cause.  After briefly contemplating calling the tree an “artsy-modern” tree with it’s sideways top, I figured that project would be even more work, and had the boys help me reload the trees in the boxes they were delivered in and take it out to the garage to discard at a future date.  My artificial Christmas tree was dead.

After all these years of marriage, Scott knows how important Christmas is to me, and that I am big on decorating for Christmas.  I wavered back and forth as he offered to buy a real Christmas tree this year and then, when Christmas was over, head out and get another artificial tree at 1/4 of the original price.  (That’s how we got the last one!)  So, finally, he insisted.  He knows me well, and didn’t want me to look back one day and regret “the year we moved back to Ohio when I didn’t even get to decorate a freaking Christmas tree!”  Yeah, that’s probably how I would have remembered it.

So while we were shopping at Costco one day, he went back in as I loaded the groceries and asked about their $30 Christmas trees.  He found out they were located in the parking lot, paid for one, and next thing I knew, we were loading a “7-8 foot” Christmas tree on the top of our car.

Oh the glorious smell!  We haven’t bought a live tree since our first Christmas in Washington…and for good reason.  The mess.  The pine needles, the pine sap, the water, EVERYWHERE (the dog couldn’t resist knocking it over once or twice!)  But it had been so long, and this year, this live, delicious smelling Christmas tree resembled so much more – starting over (again), not giving up, appreciating the beauty that comes out of hard work.  Yes, this tree was going to be a GREAT thing to do this year!

So we get the tree home and Scott takes off to buy a stand since Costco didn’t have stands to sell.  (Really, Costco?)  When he got home, he had Patrick  help him unload it off the car.  The kids are ecstatic about having a real Christmas tree.  It was something so different!   And as I’m chatting away on the phone with a girlfriend of mine, I watched Scott trim a few inches off the bottom of the tree per the instructions on the label attached.  There’s just something sexy about a man hard at work!

Finally, I get off the phone and the guys carry the tree in, only the tree was too tall.  Did Costco say this tree was 7-8 feet?  How about TEN feet?  We tried to set the tree up in the family room, but the top touched the ceiling.  “I won’t be able to put my angel the top.”  I whined.  I bought a new angel after Christmas last year and she is so pretty!

So we decided to try the sun room.  It wasn’t the ideal place to put it, but I guess it was the only place it would fit, so Scott put it in the base (already filled with water), and the tree did not want to stay up.   “Let’s just go ahead and unwrap the tree.”  He suggested, “I think once the limbs are free and spread out it will help balance the tree.”

NOT.

No matter how hard we tried, we could not get the tree to not fall over.  After multiple attempts, I looked at Scott and said, “I give up.  I don’t care.  Do you want to just throw it on the front curb and put a “Free to good home” sign up?  I’m sure somebody else would love this thing!”

“I did not get this far to give up now!”  Scott was determined.

So, Scott and Patrick took the tree back outside and Scott sawed about three feet off the base.  At that point, the tree was short enough to fit in the family room, so we moved the base back in the family room and he put the tree back in.

But the tree still didn’t want to stand on it’s own.  We tried and tried, and finally, Scott got it steady.

“It’s leaning against the wall.”  I said.

“No it’s not…the needles are just…touching the wall.”  Scott protested.

Whatever.  I don’t care.  We have a tree!  But by the end of that fiasco, I did not have the energy required to decorate.

Three days later, I finally got around to stringing the lights on it.  And that was all I had the energy for that evening.

The next day, I finally got around to finishing the rest of the decorations.  Ribbon, pretty glittery balls, and my favorite Christmas decorations – my snowmen!   Finally, the tree was done…slightly leaning  touching the wall, but unless you were looking for it, I’m sure you would be polite enough to never notice.  Right?

Over the next week, I took time to water the tree every day.  We had a trash bag under the base to catch any water spills, but I noticed that the bag was always really wet.  I started to put rags around the base, and each day, the rags were soaked too.  After waking up in the middle of the night worrying that we were going to mold up the carpet underneath, I finally told Scott my concern.  I let him know I was actually starting to lose sleep over this!  I didn’t want a stupid Christmas tree that we I just had to have create an eyesore on the carpet for the rest of the year.  Then I’d just be annoyed about having a real, live Christmas tree because our artificial tree died because we had to move again!

So my awesome husband went back took a look.  He removed the trash bag from underneath, inspected for leaks, and moved the tree over so the carpet could dry.  “We’ll leave it overnight so it has a chance to dry up.”  He told me Friday night.

When we headed downstairs the next morning, Patrick showed us the mess.  The tree had fallen over, caught by the arm of the couch, but half the decorations were scattered across the floor.  The ribbon was disheveled, and pine needles were every where.  Ugh.  Now I have to fix the tree AGAIN.  Is it not enough that we are still trying to unpack and get the house looking like a home on top of decorating and shopping for Christmas while homeschooling and my husband starting a new career?  I am so over this!

But I had the kids help out a bit after Scott moved the tree back to the corner.  He got it “standing up on its own” again, and after we arranged the decorations back on the tree, we started our Saturday morning.

Later that afternoon, we hear a whoosh!, a clingy crashing sound, and Patrick yelling, “Whoa!”

Then, “The tree fell over again!”

I’m so glad we had him there to interpret the sounds for us!

So Scott went back in, picked the tree up…leaning it ever so straightly against the wall, and I?  Well, I took one look at the decorations scattered across the floor and said, “Well, kids…you go ahead on this one!”  Then I walked away.

So here it is, MY Christmas tree:

My real, live Christmas tree, ever-so-slightly leaning against the wall!

This pretty much resembles the state of my life right now…chaos, messy, and not quite orderly! It makes me crazy, insecure, and I feel a little unstable right now, but that’s okay.   Sometimes perfect isn’t what we need!  We all have phases in our life where everything isn’t perfectly in it’s place.  And just how the tree is currently depending on the wall for a bit of support, I am so blessed to have my awesome husband, church family, friends (whether near or far), and most importantly, God, to help me through the times I’m feeling a little disheveled.  I tend to tell myself I am weak for needing help and support, but I’m learning that is not true.  God created us to need Him and each other!

So I’m thankful for my Freaking, Frustrating Christmas tree, because even this silly story gives me a little perspective into how life can be.  When we can’t stand on our own, it’s okay to lean on the support of our friends, family, and God – it doesn’t mean we are weak, it just means we need a little help every now and then.  And even if things aren’t quite perfectly in place, we can remember to take time to appreciate the little blessings that can so easily be missed if we all we do is look at what isn’t working!

So this year I am practicing (though I have not perfected) the art of taking time to smell the pine-scented needles and appreciate the season of our life for what it is – it’s a time of change, growth, & establishing new relationships for us…It’s also a time for me to stop and appreciate the amazing husband who didn’t give up on getting me a Christmas tree even when I was ready to throw my hands in the air!

And least but not least, it’s a time of celebration and beauty as we approach Christmas day and prepare for all the amazing things God has in store for us in the new year!

Oh, Christmas Tree…Oh Freaking, Frustrating Christmas Tree, Thank you for the insight to my life as it is today!

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Back To Ohio

So…we are back in Ohio. We moved about three weeks ago. The movers unloaded our stuff on Friday, and we were on the road the next Saturday for Florida! (Because we are crazy like that!) No…we didn’t move to Florida a week later. We took a much-needed two week vacation with some dear friends. And Sunday we drove the 16+ hour drive back to cold, gray, rainy Ohio.

And once again, I find myself getting homesick. It seems that just as I am getting settled into one place, it’s time to start packing for the next. I don’t feel like I ever truly get to settle. It’s hard to accept that for now, this is the life God has planned for me, because it’s the most uncomfortable thing I could do – move every two years. I just start to warm up to people, establish relationships, and then I have to leave. But I can’t say that I haven’t learned some very valuable lessons on this never-ending journey. I can’t say that I haven’t come to know some amazingly awesome people either. So there are definitely blessings I never would have received through all these moves, it’s just that I’m stuck on doing the hardest part of moving right now.

So yesterday morning – the morning after that 16+ hour drive home, reality set in. It’s time to get started all over again. The same emotions that I feel with every move are kicked in and overwhelmed me. While this move is slightly different because we have lived in Ohio before, I still feel that loneliness, the homesickness, the longing to not have to do this ever again. I don’t want to have to work on establishing new relationships. I don’t want to have to keep putting myself out there and make myself vulnerable to someone who may decide to hurt me. I just want to be me with the people who know and appreciate who I am – people who understand my twisted sense of humor and laugh along with me.

But that is not where I’m at in this point in life, so I guess it’s time to put on my big girl panties and face reality. Florida is warm, sunny, and bright. Ohio is…well, it’s pretty much the opposite of that right now, but it doesn’t mean that my outlook on starting over has to be. So here I go…on to another adventure!

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! Sorry. I just had to get that out – For the 20th time this morning. Yes, it’s been one of those mornings. One of those mornings where I prayed someone from this small town in Arkansas didn’t pull up to the lane next to me and recognize me as I was bawling my eyes out at the stop light. One of those mornings that still, despite my efforts, ended in failure. And here I am. Back in the blogging world to share my pathetic little adventure of the day, prompted by the one and only Dwight.

The morning started off fairly well, despite my latest personal health issues (IBS symptoms that seem to be especially active in the a.m. and at bed time). The kids made it off to school okay, my stomach hurt enough for me to decide to avoid the much-desired cup of coffee, but breakfast helped! America woke up in a good mood and Madison was sleeping in. It was nice and peaceful and though cloudy, NOT RAINING!
I only had two things on my agenda to take care of today. 1) Grab a few groceries for dinner for the company we are having over tonight, and 2) Get to my doctor appointment so I can discuss next steps since my blood test results came out pretty good and we still don’t know what’s causing all of my health issues.

Then I got the phone call. “Oh…Mom? Oh! I’m so screwed. Today is the mock trial day. Oh, I’m so screwed. I forgot my dress clothes. Could you bring it to me? It starts at 9:00.”

“Dwight. Why did this happen?” I asked.

“Because I didn’t plan it out. I’m so screwed!”

We went round and round as I tried to get him to the point. What I ultimately made him admit was that “Planning it out” means using the tools we’ve given him, coached him in, and begged him to use. Heck, we even took him to counseling to have the counselor try to reason with him. That worked for a month or two… But to this day he still insists that he doesn’t need these tools. To use these organizational tools is to admit to weakness in Dwight’s eyes. (Even though we’ve told him that his dad and I both use these same tools to stay organized!) All he had to do was use his planner and check it every morning and every evening to be sure he was set for the day. But noooooooooooooo.

I told him I will call him back as I started to throw on some clothes. I knew in the end I was going to bring it to him, but I wanted to make him sweat a little.

I texted him a couple minutes later. “If u can come out to the car when I get there, I will bring your clothes. What do u need?”

His reply: “What time will u be here?”

This. Is. Killing. Me. Did I mention I have little patience with things like this? Here I was, giving up my peaceful little morning in order to start driving the girls into fast-forward get-yourself-dressed-so-we-can-scram mode, and he’s going to answer my question with a question!

“Dude, I’m running like a mad woman trying to get myself & ur sisters out the door. Do u want to waste my time or do u want to tell me what u need so I can get it to u on time?”

Finally, the answer, “The black pants and shirt. Dress shoes and silver tie.”

So as I scrambled around trying to get myself, America, and Madison, (who’d just woken up) dressed and out the door with Dwight’s clothes that took a while and a few more texts to find. Did I mention I had to buckle in Madison’s car seat because I’d taken it out a few days ago and didn’t go back out in this wretched rain/flood since? And as I’m running out the front door with his clothes and car seat in hand, he calls. “Where are you?”

“REALLY, DWIGHT?” I cried…well, I shouted and cried at the same time. He thinks I can get the girls and myself dressed find his clothes stuffed in random places, and buckle the car seat into the car in 20 minutes!? Craziness!

“I am STILL AT THE HOUSE. I told you I’d text you when I got in front of the school! Now let me get this stuff and your sisters loaded up so I can get it to you in time!”
Funny part is, I only thought I’d told him I’d text him when I got there. Turns out I never really did. Ummm…heh heh…oops. Brain malfunction! But regardless…I was in a hurry, panicked…trying to be Super Mom.

Soooooo…
I wrestled with the car seat, threw in the clothes, then remembered I forgot the shoes. I told the girls to go outside and wait by the car while I ran upstairs to grab some dress shoes. I ran back out, locked the front door to the house, threw in the shoes, buckled up the girls, then ran to the other car to get the GPS so that I could be sure to take the quickest route possible. Only the GPS wasn’t there.

I’m pretty sure some cussing commenced about this point. I called Scott to ask him if it was in his car. Of course it was. And here I thought we’d be fine sharing a GPS! So I get in the car and start heading the long, but safe way towards the high school because I didn’t have time to spare or chance that I might be able to remember the faster route to his school. As I was half-way there, I get another phone call from Dwight.

“Ummmm, never mind. We are leaving for the courthouse now.”

“What?!? Dwight? Why didn’t you tell me you were going to have the mock trial at the court house? I thought it was at your school! WHERE. IS. THE. COURTHOUSE?”

He fumbled around with his thoughts as he tried to tell me, but of course he doesn’t know. Finally someone in the background tells him it’s by a local restaurant.

“Where. Is. THE RESTAURANT?” I ask. I was already out the door and on the road. My relaxing, stress-free morning was ruined. I was going to accomplish this mission I was on!

He fumbled with his words again. Finally, a woman takes his phone, “Mrs. Wallace? This is Mrs. ‘Teacher.’ The courthouse runs parallel to (names a street). It’s by ‘Restaurant.’” But don’t worry about it, he’s fine.”

“Well, I’m already on my way with his stuff.” I persisted. “I’d like to get it to him. I had no idea it was at the District Courthouse…I thought I was going to be able to get to the school before 9:00 . He didn’t tell me you all were leaving the school.” (She obviously had no idea what I just went through to just call it quits now. But, I was pretty sure the courthouse was closer so I was determined to get there).
Turns out it was a mistake to vent to the teacher about my son. “Did you not get the invitation I mailed out two weeks ago?” She asked. Buuuuuuuurn. What a clever and subtle way to let me know that I need to be more involved in my son’s fine educational activities.

Well, of course I got the invite…but I was not going to bring the 2-year-old and 4-year-old to the courthouse knowing I’d they’d whine and cry about how bored they were the entire time. Besides, Life has been too crazy lately, and my body doesn’t seem to be handling stress so well, so I intentionally chose to not add anything additional onto my agenda until I can get my body under control!
Besides, with Dwight, he never expressed a desire for us to come. I forget that when these things are important to him, which in retrospect, this mock trial was, it doesn’t necessarily mean he wants us there. He could care less. Just like he could care less about senior pictures, getting his senior year book, or sending out graduation announcements.

At this point, I was feeling flustered, stressed, and praying and hoping all this stress was not going to bring on another round of stomach pains and nausea, so I just replied to his teacher, “I may have.” Did I really need to explain anything to her? Why did I suddenly feel like a little kid?

I got off the phone and pulled over so I could Map Quest the exact address of the courthouse. I was almost there…I’d stopped the tears. I was going to hand him his stuff, and move on with my day.
But, Damn! I couldn’t help but feel that teacher was judging me! I couldn’t get this out of my head. I imagined all the things she was thinking…how I, the parent of this high-functioning, yet special-needs child has remained uninvolved in his life. How sad it must be for him to have to make it out there on his own. How cruel it was of me to yell at him over the phone. How just investing a little bit of time into him would make a world of difference.

“She doesn’t know me.” I thought. “She doesn’t know our situation. She has NO IDEA how much money, therapy, and time we invest in that boy (more time on him than the total time we invest in the other 5 children!)…only to end up in situations like this because he REFUSES to change. His emergencies become my emergencies!”

And then I knew what my husband would say if he were here with me that very moment. “Why do you care what she thinks?”

Why do I care? I don’t know. Maybe because I am a pleaser by nature and I feel like I’ve disappointed my son’s teacher! Maybe because I want some understanding. Maybe because I feel like I’ve made so many sacrifices for this kid and since he never acknowledges or even notices the pain and frustration, it would be nice to feel that those also involved in his life get it and don’t judge me.

I hate feeling judged.

But I decided to shake it off. Okay, for real now, I’m going to move on with my day…just as soooooooon as I hand him his clothes, I’m going to shake this off and move on with my day.

And I was there – FINALLY, I was at the District Courthouse. I made it with 10 minutes to spare before the mock trial began. Close, but maybe he could run out and grab his clothes and throw them on real quick. I pulled into a parking spot and grabbed my phone, tapped on my phone and waited for it to ring as my eyes darted back and forth waiting for any sign of students or buses to appear.

And my call went straight to voicemail.

No. No, No, No, No, NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I texted him. “R u there?”

And then I texted again, “I’ve tried calling u. I’m here but can’t find you.”

No response. So, I made one last attempt to call again. And again, the call went straight to voicemail.

Defeat laughed in my face. But by that point, I was so numb I couldn’t even cry. I’d planned on discussing his lack of communication from the beginning…like when he never mentioned he was leaving the school at 8:30 and that meeting him at the courthouse would be faster and the only attainable goal since he didn’t actually even call me until 4 minutes til 8:00…but now? Now I will definitely have to mention how rude and inconsiderate it was of him to not call or text me to tell me it was time to turn off his phone. Just a little call or text would have at least had me turning around and heading home a little sooner…and not waiting in the parking spot for my son to come out and grab his clothes as the girls whined about how hungry they were. It would have brought me to the realization a little bit sooner that my efforts to help him succeed had failed, and my morning was wasted on yelling, texting, running around like a mad woman, and starving my poor girls as I threw them half-dressed into the car…because…Dwight’s emergency became the family’s emergency.

So on my way home, I didn’t cry. In fact, I almost laughed, but the numbness settled in and I couldn’t do that either. This is my life. This is my norm. These little Dwight adventures happen to me all the time, but I still get worked up about it every time. And I think that the numbness might have been a good thing this morning…because usually I’m able to manage to bail Dwight out of his situation.
But not today. Today was an absolute FAIL. And Dwight will never understand the amount of effort I put into this morning, trying to be a good mom to him. That part frustrated me the most. In his eyes, I should have left the house sooner to get him his clothes. Instead, I was mean, insisting he stop asking me when I was going to be there because I was too busy trying to get ready to go. I should have read his mind. I should have known the students were taking a trip to the courthouse. I am not the hero today.

But, in my attempt to stay positive, I can at least say this: My stomach didn’t react to all this stress thrown on me this morning. (Thank you, Lord!) There’s a small victory…not one Dwight will appreciate, but certainly one I am counting as a blessing!

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I know I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog like I would like to, but I will get back on track. I have been a busy mama!

I have so much to write about, but now isn’t a good time. (I said I’ll get back on track…I just didn’t say when)! 🙂

Until then, I’m excited to share that I have been painting! I started taking classes last Fall and am starting to get my artwork set up on various websites online! I also included two of my “nude” drawings from a classical drawing art class I took when I was in college.

Anyway, here is a link to one website with my artwork. 🙂 I will be adding more paintings soon!

http://www.redbubble.com/people/mlwallace9

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Wow…it’s been over a year.  I suppose I have some catching up to do! 

First things first…life has been crazy.  The adoption process has been put on hold, and Scott and I have both been stretched beyond what we can handle on our own.  I know, I know…many Christians out there say that God won’t give us more than we can handle, but I disagree…and this post here explains my thinking on this topic.  But I won’t get into this one right now…

I’ll just focus on summing up the last year:

1.  Started the adoption process.  We completed the classes, turned in all the paperwork, completed our home study, and waited for the phone call from the adoption specialist.  Instead, after finally calling the office myself and being told our file was in order (after they found it…yes, it was lost, then found), we get a letter in the mail stating that we were still missing information and needed to send it in.  Frustration settled in, I lost motivation, and didn’t even bother trying after that point, which turned out to be okay because…

2.  Scott’s sister and oldest son ended up moving in with us.  It only lasted a couple of months, and it was a very hard, trying, learning experience for us, but God has taught me so much through everything that happened and I am thankful that God knows me better than I know myself.  He knows what’s best for our entire family and I trust and am thankful that He is in control of all things…even when things don’t make sense!

3.  Scott has been working two roles (equivalent to TWO JOBS) for his company the last several months and it has been very, VERY trying and hard.  IF we’d had a child placed in our  home during all this other stuff we’ve been dealing with, we would have certainly failed.  However, God has continued to stretch, grow, and teach us through all of this…and I feel that Scott and I are closer than we’ve ever been.  He is still working both roles, but I’m confident that the company is going to finally start transitioning him off one role so we can stop living in survival mode and get back to living our lives with direction and purpose!

So…where does that leave us?  That leaves us back where we started over a year ago.   Several days ago, Scott felt that God told him that we are still supposed to adopt.  I felt the same thing, but didn’t really say anything to him until he mentioned it one night.  For me, it was just confirmation.  I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight…it may be another year before we have a child placed with us.  And I know my husband is still dealing with too much with work to pursue this, but I am going to take the first steps towards getting the ball rolling again because I know that even if I do my part, it’s still going to be a very long process! 

So I’ve found my motivation and am going to turn in the rest of that paperwork.  The state may make us start completely over at this point…and we may even decide adopting through the state isn’t the way we want to go…but for now, it’s where we are at.  Dwight is heading off to his first year of college next fall…and I don’t think we will have a child placed in our home before then.  But God’s timing is perfect and I am learning to just be patient and let God’s plan catch up with me and when I think things should happen.  So I am just going to be obedient, do what I can do, and let God do the rest.  If it all happens in three months…then okay.  If it takes 10 years, I’m okay with that too.

Trying to force things into my timing never works anyway!

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The Path

Sometimes I just stand in awe of how quickly life can change.  I don’t really know what to say at this point.  After my last post, when I felt that God was reaching out to me, letting me know that He was there and He was going to provide all of my needs, I was genuinely surprised by the outpouring of events that continued to let me know that He is in the middle of everything.  It’s very humbling, to say the least, when you sit there and whine and complain about your circumstances, and God just waits patiently for you to finish, then speaks to your heart…then moves.

And move He did.  I wish I would have written this post earlier while things were still fresh, but  I’ll try to share just a little bit of what God is doing in my life.  The Saturday after my last post, Scott and I planned on joining our small group to attend a day of ministry at the Ray’s house.  If you are living in the Fayetteville area, you are probably aware that this amazing family lost their daughter/sister in a tragic accident on a day that was supposed to be filled with fun and excitement.  This family is a missionary family and love, love, LOVE the Lord with all their hearts.

I wasn’t able to make it to the house until about an hour and a half before everything was supposed to end, but when I got there I was just so humbled and blessed at what I saw.  Our group was working together, beautifying the Ray’s front and back yard.  They trimmed shrubs, cut down limbs, raked leaves, planted trees…you name it.  And even though there wasn’t a whole lot for me to do while I was there, I learned it was a pleasure and a privilege to serve this family who serves the Lord.  They were so down to earth, they were honest about their pain and loss, but the transparency didn’t stop there.  This family loves the Lord with all their heart.

While the grieved the loss of their daughter on earth, they also knew and rejoiced that she is with her Heavenly father.  At the same time, I watched in amazement as Patrick, my 13 year old son, let me know that he wanted to be there, to serve.  And he joyfully worked along with the others.  At the end of the day he said, “Mom, I don’t know why, but doing that just felt good.  It’s not the same when we do it at our house, but working at the Ray’s house felt good.  I want to do this again.”

It really convicted me.  Here I am complaining about my circumstances and this family is going through their own personal hell on earth, grieving the loss of their daughter, and still loving their God in the midst of it all.  It’s not to say that I haven’t loved God in the middle of all of this, but I did allow myself to get distracted and honestly, angry at God, when I should have kept my head in the game!  Then here is my son, learning and desiring to serve others.  He has such a compassionate heart.  That’s when I realized that I am not looking at this life on earth, or the people around me, through the eyes of God.  Like Patrick, I should desire and look for ways to serve others, to share God’s love, to try to comfort and be there for those who are hurting.

Sunday evening our small group met at our house and we discussed our experience from the day before.  Our meeting lasted longer than it has since we started our group and we really just opened up about our lesson topics, concerns, struggles, etc.  At the end of the meeting, one of the women approached me and asked, “Hey, do you want to get together and get lunch some time?”

“Yeah!”  I said.

That’s when she told me that she’s really been wanting to get to know me better.  Me?  Really?  Funny.  Didn’t I just complain about wanting someone to reach out to me?

Then another couple, whom Scott and I have talked about wanting to get together with, approached us that same night and asked, “Hey, would you two be interested in catching lunch together one Sunday?  We’d like to get to know you a little more.”

Then, two days later, another couple in our group sent me an email.  “I know this is short notice, but we have two extra tickets to this banquet on Thursday.  Do you and Scott want to join us?”

Okay, God…now you are just showing off!

So here I am in the middle of all of this learning, and being humbled and corrected, and at the same time, God is just blessing me with the desires of my heart.  It truly is amazing.  Once I was willing to shut up and listen, to let Him redirect me on the path He wants me to take, I was able to see that He loves me and really does want to give me the desires of my heart…the desires that line up with His desires.  I know He wants us to have Christian friends we can go to, talk to, grow with.  I know that He doesn’t want me to feel lonely.  But he also used that loneliness to get my attention.  After all, when there is no one else around you to talk to, it makes it a whole lot easier to realize that there is still someone there, just waiting for you to notice Him.

So God is doing a work in me, and I am so filled with joy right now.  He is such a patient and amazing God.  And as of yesterday, He has thrown another loop on our path that I am a little nervous about.  But that, my friends, is something I will have to share another time!  Until then, I pray this prayer for myself, and for you:

“Make me (us) walk along the path of Your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.”  Psalms 119:35

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